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August 16

FOCUS:    Every good gift is given by God and is to be used in his service. 

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Today’s psalm clearly reminds us of our place in this temporary world, “It is I who deal death and give life.” (Deuteronomy 32:39) In this world filled with shiny baubles, praise and recognition for the accumulation of awards and expensive things, we can easily get distracted. Where our treasure is there too will our heart be. Is our life built on God or on things that do not last?


When Jesus says, “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God,” (Matthew 19:24) the disciples seem exasperated.  However, Jesus is not speaking of worldly riches.  For Jesus one who is rich is anyone who has their eyes fixed on this world not eternity.  One who is focused not on Christ but rather on the trappings of the world.  This could be a homeless beggar who is cursing the world, or a millionaire filled with pride who believes all his gifts are of his own making to be enjoyed only by himself. 


Every person is called to become poor in spirit, dependent totally on God to obtain heaven.  The road is narrow; only nothingness gets through.  Are we rich in education?  Our swollen heads will block our way into the kingdom as the spirit of Divine Wisdom finds no room in our soul.  Are we filled with haughty conceit?  Filling ourselves with pride and self-dependence, leaves no room for God.  Are we rich with a wealth of worries, relying on our own power?  We are living tortured lives. Only trust in God brings peace and joy of the kingdom of heaven in this life and the next.


Everything must be removed from our heart and replaced with God and the needs of others.  The riches that keep us from heaven are our sins.  God’s mercy is unending.  We must not weep over our sins but rather run to the loving arms of God’s forgiveness and grace. God does not reject imperfect, unfinished people.  Jesus clearly showed us that He came for the imperfect.  He seeks the unfinished. The kingdom of heaven belongs to ones such as these.


Today, let us reflect on the riches that keep us from dependence on God and surrender to His loving plan for our life. How can I seek God’s mercy to overcome my imperfections?